Monday Coffee, potpourri and other nonsense!
FIDE announces Kaspersky sponsorship of 2017 Grand Prix
The Telegraph today reports that Eugene Kaspersky (of the famed Kaspersky Lab) has decided to sponsor the 2017 Grand Prix circuit. This FIDE flagship consists of 4 (four) tournaments, each with a prize fund of $130,000.
Kaspersky is estimated to have a personal fortune of $1.27 billion: “I’m very proud that we’re now a partner of the World Chess Championship. The ultimate game of strategy, chess involves lots of excitement and tension too. The top chess tournaments are all about human brainpower – aided today by computer technologies. Some games at the very top level are simply among the top human achievements – real masterpieces. And we’re happy to become a part of this.”–Eugene Kaspersky
Comment: This does not seem to be a very big sponsorship, despite the sensational headline. Instead, it has all of the forensics of FIDE spinning a last-minute stay of execution (the first Grand Prix tournament begins in less than 2 weeks) into another ‘success‘ story, so typical of FIDE in recent years. Whenever no sponsor is interested in bidding, Kirsan always seems to pull another Russian businessman out of his hat right before the clock strikes midnight….
Another doping/chess study makes news…
Heralded as a landmark study on the subject of chess and the existence of performance enhancing drugs, numerous MSM and almost all of the major chess news sites/blogs reported the findings as if something significant was discovered, largely ignoring the fine print.
The study, called “Methylphenidate, modafinil, and caffeine for cognitive enhancement in chess: A double-blind, randomized controlled trial.” was overseen by some 13 professors from several German universities,as well as from the University of Stockholm. Included on the list was reknown professor Klaus Lieb of Mainz University.
To cut to the chase, some 39 study-participants were given either methylphenidate, modafinil, caffeine, or a placebo. Apparently, many of those given the substances lost on time in their games and hence skewed the results — something that the authors of the study admitted.
Never the less, these same authors then conveniently ignored these results, effectively white-washing the entire study. Dr. Lieb himself admitted that the study contained several other flaws, not least being that the games played were too fast.
It seems to this reader that the entire study should have never received the initial recognition that it received. I would be very interested in hearing what some of Dr. Lieb’s colleagues (who did NOT have anything to do with the study) thought of the entire affair…
Hou Yifan’s Gambit (Part II)
As expected last Friday when I wrote my last blog article from Gibraltar, the incident involving the Women’s World Champion Hou Yifan has clearly eclipsed the victory (tiebreak) of Nakamura! If you do a Google search on Nakamura’s victory, you will find some 550 entries, as opposed to almost 4,000 entries on Hou Yifan’s resignation.
On top of that, the number of views on YouTube regarding Hou Yifan’s now famous 10th game are equally outstanding: the official Gibraltar video has (of this writing) some 86,379 views; Dinh Long has 128,286 views; the Russian Школа Шахмат ChessMaster has more than 37,000 views; Chess to Impress has some 36,000 views; agadmator’s Chess Channel has some 16,616 views; Crestbook has more than 18,000 views. ETC.